Why play sports? One might say “to get some good exercise” while some might say “To have fun”. That’s all true. But there’s more. In fact, there are many more girls who play sports to achieve a lot more than just being fit.
Sports have been one of the most important socio-cultural learning experiences for boys and men for many years. And no doubt those same benefits should be afforded to our daughters too. But, have you ever pondered how many girls do you see playing in neighborhood, local play grounds? Do you actually see them playing? Have you ever realized that sports are equally important for girls?
One of the major hindrances are the cultural reasons which prohibit a girl even just to outdoor space ignited with discouragement from school, parents and inadequate facilities, consequently creating an illusion that sports are definitely not for women and girls. The strong myths about girls ought not to look muscular or sporty is also one of the contributing factors for leaving them behind in the arena of sports. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes and obviously everyone marking their words, “Look! What a shame, that girl is playing football” which makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports. Because of all this reasons we are not been able to express the love and interest for the games.
I still vividly remember, when I was a kid even I was not allowed to play the games or involve in sports just because I was a girl. Although, I wanted to play outdoor and explore I was always kept indoor with dolls and a sister to play with. And what I got to play was those “girly games” which I liked but I always wanted something more. Seeing my love for just a football match on TV, my mom gifted me a football on my birthday when I was 13 which left me with sheer happiness. I had very few friends who played football with me but my sister and my pet dog always accompanied me. I then continued my passion for football and played during my school days, high school and I still play at my college. Playing football doesn’t make me shameful. It gives me intense pleasure, happiness and inspires me to achieve goals.
Studies have shown that girls who are involved in sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression. Evidences also highlight that these girls and women have a more positive body image and experience higher state of psychological well-being than those who do not play sports. But, people of our country are not well acquainted with all these consequences. Rather we find increased drop outs because any sport require a proper place to participate and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, this means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away. And if there isn’t a safe option like carpooling with other families, the only option for a girl and her family may be to stay home.
Should we stop our girls by showing all these problems? Or should we give them opportunities or facilities and let them involve in the sports and help them build confidence, self-esteem and teach them the importance of team work, leadership. Sports participation may meet the development need of adolescent girls and even encourage them to achieve new horizon and wisdom filled experiences.
However, I feel that the sole motto that every player must follow is that “Play for fun”! Don’t worry about excelling the game, just participate, as playing is more important than winning. As being a sport lover, I just want to say that girls should try to know the real inner self and not just holding back and no doubt the real beauty will be reflected in one’s confidence. There will definitely be odds in your way and whatever others say, you should have the strong will in your heart, which you should play with. Those inspirations from players, that hard work and team work during the games helped me gain confidence as I knew that I can practice, improve and achieve my goals. It has certainly helped me to lessen my stress and feel a lot happier and healthier.
It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life!!! Cheers!!!
Written By: Romina Pant
Edited by: Elisha Joshi and Insha Pun